This year’s midterm elections saw Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. bring the total number of states where medical marijuana is legal up to 23. Four states, including the District of Columbia, now allow recreational use of marijuana.
In the aftermath of this news, it’s already beginning to look like the state of Missouri could be next in line on the path to statewide marijuana legalization.
According to a Nov. 13 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, Show-Me Cannabis, a pro-pot organization, filed a constitutional amendment with the secretary of state’s office that would make legal the sale and production of marijuana for Missouri residents 21 and older.
However, it’s uncertain as to whether this amendment will ultimately be placed on the Missouri ballot in the 2016 election. For this year’s elections alone, only one of the 65 constitutional amendments not filed by state legislature landed on the ballot, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
While marijuana is commonly perceived as a recreational drug, a large number of people use marijuana for its medicinal properties. Medicinal marijuana helps treat nausea and vomiting for chemotherapy patients and people with AIDS; it also alleviates anxiety, pain, muscle spasms and a number of other ailments.
Making marijuana legal would give a particular economic advantage to Missouri, as the state has been one of the leaders in hemp agricultural production, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The amendment would expand possibilities for research on the uses of hemp.
And when Missouri’s schools suffer from a lack of funds and other areas of the state government are underfunded, revenue from a marijuana tax would significantly bolster the state’s finances and help catalyze economic revival.
“I think the fact it is a state verses federal thing, that’s another argument to use with people,” Rep. Elect Shamed Dogan said at a Nov. 15 meeting held in support of Missouri marijuana legalization in St. Louis. “I mean, why should I care that the federal government’s made it completely illegal, right? Like, why shouldn’t states be able to experiment and have different policies?”